Luxury Lifestyle

Even the flowers at Rolls-Royce are bespoke: Inside the creation of the Phantom Rose

The rose blooms at Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, West Sussex, England.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Spring brings about a sense of renewal and rebirth. Lambs are born in the countryside as grass grows tall and bees begin buzzing around gardens full of flowers. In Goodwood, West Sussex, England, a very special rose blooms.

The Phantom Rose is a bespoke rose with a storied history, a theme that runs parallel with the super luxury auto brand whose headquarters the flower calls home - Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Rose Harkness Rose floral nursery worked for eight years to perfect the bespoke rose.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Philip Harkness, a British horticulturalist and rose breeder bred the Phantom Rose especially for the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Harkness is of the Harkness Rose floral nursery in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, which is renowned for having developed and bred several types of roses, having won gold at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show more than 25 times in the last 50 years.

The fresh breed of rose was commissioned by Rolls-Royce. Upon commissioning, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer Sina-Maria Eggl, commented, "The rose had to embody Rolls-Royce's poise, elegance and allure. The result was a very pure, delicate but voluminous white flower: sensual, but strong in presence, with an alluring aroma and extra winter durability."

It took eight years for Harkness to develop. It was, he says, a labour of love. "A rose has the ability to captivate you on many levels. It is a thing of beauty, it can stimulate the senses with wonderful perfume, the soft touch of the petals or the rasping pain from a thorn. It touches our emotions, signifies love and appears in some of our finest poetry."

Rolls-Royce describes the Phantom Rose as, "a blousy, creamy-white flower, offering a full bloom of 50 petals and a rich perfume."

Phantom Rose Phantom's Gallery Design Process

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The rose snow grows in a specially designed bed, fringed with lavender, that runs alongside the reflection ponds adjacent to the marque's Sir Nicholas Grimshaw plant. Rolls-Royce associates designers can view the rose bed through the plant's floor-to-ceiling glass as they work.

The bed is very near where Rolls-Royce's bee operation is housed.

In 2017, Rolls-Royce undertook a one-off design for Phantom's Gallery featuring the rose. The Gallery is protected by an uninterrupted piece of glass that spans the width of the Phantom and is backlit. Stems of the rose were flown to master artisans from world-renowned porcelain manufacturers in Nymphenburg, Germany where they were examined in various stages from bud to bloom. The artisans crafted white porcelain versions of the rose in a process that took three months.

More recently, the Phantom Rose served as an inspiration for a million-stitch Rose Phantom, which featured embroidered flowers throughout the cabin of the vehicle. Learn more about the creation of the Rose Phantom by watching the short film below.

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The Bentley Bentayga Speed delivers power, performance, and superbly luxurious accommodations.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Remember when people bought SUVs because they needed to haul people and stuff while also towing a trailer? We're light years away from that now, as SUVs have all but taken over the automotive market. Because of that popularity, they're becoming faster, safer, and more tech-rich with every year that passes. Some automakers even offer performance SUVs with massive horsepower numbers and near-supercar levels of acceleration.

That's why we're here today – to discuss the most powerful SUVs on the market today. Many of the names on this list will get a knowing nod from many readers, who recognize their performance nameplates, but there will be at least a few surprises for everyone. Let's dive in.

Please note, models with similar power outputs have been omitted for clarity. An example is the BMW X6 M Performance, which carries the same performance specs that the X5 M Competition does. We chose the best representation of the power for this article's listing based on our testing of the models.

No. 15 - Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring

2021 Lincoln Aviator

​Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

494 horsepower
630 pound-feet of torque

The Lincoln Aviator's standard powertrain, which involves a 400-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, is more than powerful enough for most people, but the automaker offers a Grand Touring model that adds hybrid power to the mix. The Aviator Grand Touring pairs a 75-kilowatt electric motor to that V6 to produce 494 total system horsepower. That's a big number, but the extra torque is where the real story lies, as the Aviator Grand Touring produces 630 pound-feet of the stuff. How does zero to 60 mph in five seconds in a Lincoln SUV sound?

No. 14 - Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifolgio

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

505 horsepower
443 pound-feet of torque

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 and puts its 505 horsepower to the ground through all four wheels and an eight-speed automatic transmission. That engine also delivers 443 pound-feet of torque for a zero to 60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds.

No. 13 - Tesla Model X

2020 Tesla Model X

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

518 horsepower
487 pound-feet of torque

A vehicle that makes 518 horsepower and doesn't use a tablespoon of gas in the process is impressive enough on its own, but the Tesla Model X has plenty of other virtues. The EV can travel from zero to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, can seat up to seven people, has cool (but questionably practical) X-wing doors, and has an amazing suite of advanced driver assistance technologies.

No. 12 - Jaguar F-Pace SVR

2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

550 horsepower
502 pound-feet of torque

The F-Pace was Jaguar's first attempt at a crossover, and for the most part it's turned out quite well. Though the automaker now makes two other crossover models, including one EV, the F-Pace is its most powerful. The SVR model takes that power a step further with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that makes 550 horsepower and a thunderous noise out its back end. That power is good enough for the SVR to make the run from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 176 mph.

No. 11 - Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

2021 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

575 horsepower
516 pound-feet of torque

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR gets the same supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that its corporate cousin, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR has. Here, it's tuned to 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That'll help the Range Rover Sport SVR reach 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds.

No. 10 - ​Maserati Levante Trofeo

2021 Maserati Levante Trofeo Photo courtesy of Maserati

590 horsepower
538 pound-feet of torque

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is quick, but the Maserati Levante Trofeo holds the title of Italy's most powerful SUV. In the Trofeo, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine puts down an incredible 590 horsepower and can propel the Maserati to a zero to 60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.

No. 9 - Audi RS Q8

2020 Audi RS Q8

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

591 horsepower
590 pound-feet of torque

If a Lamborghini Urus is too flashy for you, the RS Q8 offers much of the same engineering without the baggage. It's got a 4.0-liter V8 that produces 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. That's a combination that yields a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.

No. 8 - Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge

2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge

Photo by Harvey Briggs

600 horsepower
664 pound-feet of torque

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the size of a house and has all of the right angles to prove it. A 6.7-liter V12 under the hood provides 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to move the enormous SUV from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds.

No. 7 - ​Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

603 horsepower
627 pound-feet of torque

Just running through the Mercedes-AMG SUV catalog would make quick work of this list. The group's got a handle on powerful people movers, and it shows. The GLE 63 S makes 603 horsepower while looking and driving like a normal vehicle in everyday situations. A stab of the throttle wakes up the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, however, and makes a wondrous noise in the process.

No. 6 - BMW X5 M Competition

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

Photo courtesy of BMW

617 horsepower
553 pound-feet of torque

The X5 was BMW's first SUV and remains a flagship of the company's lineup today. The X5 M Competition takes the already-bonkers 600 hp that the "normal" X5 M gets from its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and cranks it up to 617 ponies. The SUV can make the run from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

No. 5 - Bentley Bentayga Speed

2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

626 horsepower
664 pound-feet of torque

With its deep six-figure price tag and unique looks, the Bentley Bentayga Speed is one of the more unique vehicles on this list. It's powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine that sends 626 ponies to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. That helps the Bentayga Speed run zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

No. 4 - Lamborghini Urus

2020 Lamborghini Urus

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

641 horsepower
626 pound-feet of torque

Funny names aside, the Lamborghini Urus is a serious vehicle. As the automakers first SUV effort, the Urus had big performance shoes to fill, and has done so admirably. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 makes 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. The Urus takes just a hair over three seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill and can go on to a top speed of 190 mph.

No. 3 - Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

2021 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

670 horsepower
663 pound-feet of torque

Hybrids aren't just good on gas. All of that extra off-the-line torque makes for a thrilling driving experience. That's just what we see in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, whose name takes almost as long to say as it does for the SUV to run to 60 mph. The vehicle gets a whopping 670 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque from its combined systems, and can hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.

No. 2 - ​Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

707 horsepower
645 pound-feet of torque

And then, the Hellcat met a Jeep. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was the first SUV to get the supercharged 6.2-liter engine and remains one of the most powerful SUVs you can buy today. It gets 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque from its engine, which reaches all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The big Jeep is capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

No. 1 - Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat


Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

710 horsepower
640 pound-feet of torque

Dodge's approach to the auto business, which in recent years has been a philosophy of "Hellcat all the things," seems to be working. The company's Durango SUV could already be ordered with a 475-horsepower 392 cubic-inch engine, but more power is almost always a good thing. The Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes 710 horsepower in the new Durango, and helps it make the zero to 60 mph run in a scant 3.5 seconds.

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The McLaren Sabre is a U.S. market exclusive.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren Special Operations (MSO) worked with 15 U.S. customers to create a new bespoke commission hypercar, the McLaren Sabre. Each customer will be able to take delivery to the vehicle, which was designed and homologated exclusively for the US market.

Each of the models is tailored to a heightened level of personalization. It features ideas and innovations that McLaren says would to be permitted during a global homologation process, which is why the vehicle will only be sold in the U.S.

McLaren Sabre

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

The mid-engine hypercar is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 842 brake horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. These figures make it the most powerful non-hybrid McLaren to date. It has a maximum speed of 218 mph making it the fastest-ever two-seater McLaren.

Before its completion, customers were able to enjoy a final private test drive of a prototype version of their new car at the Thermal Club Private Race Track. After returning from the drive, owners were able to give direct feedback via video chat to the design and engineering team back in Woking.

"I've been fortunate enough to have been involved with a number of very special cars and I've never seen a manufacturer give clients the level of access that McLaren Special Operations has provided for the Sabre," said Parris Mullins, Motorsport Director for O'Gara Motorsport

McLaren's Bespoke Commission customer experience includes a close working relationship with the MSO development team of designers, engineers and test drivers to help match their desired and personalized concept.

"Everything from visiting the 'skunkworks' style design studio in the UK to flying out the actual development test mule for clients to get behind the wheel of and drive at a private track –these just aren't things you typically get access to," said Mullins.

McLaren Beverly Hills has handed over the keys to the first model to its owner.

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